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- DescriptionFor the first time in the history of drama criticism, this book uses traditional rhetorical theory to evaluate moral values in plays from Shakespeare's time to the present. In an accessible style free of jargon, Robert King first reviews other theories and critiques of drama to show that they igre or minimize the argument from moral worth (ethos), the rhetorical proof that earns a speaker or work its credibility. As the literary genre most dependent on an audience for its full realization, drama in performance, he argues, offers rich opportunities for rhetorical criticism while those plays of social or political relevance virtually demand an ethically grounded approach. Proceeding from this premise, this invative book insists on the continuing relevance of traditional rhetoric as crucial to an appreciation of aesthetic strategy and moral worth in plays from the Early Modern to contemporary periods. Ethos is applied as a standard for discovering a play's worth in its control of syntax, diction, and stylistic devices; likewise it is used to judge character and persuasive argument. Among the artists discussed: Shakespeare, Chekhov, Arthur Miller, David Mamet, Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, John Dryden, Thomas Otway, David Hare, Tom Stoppard, and Bernard Shaw. Commenting in general on plays he has seen in performance, King applies ethical theory to the values of various dramatic techniques like costume, staging, action, and role playing. As an ultimate test of the theory, his concluding chapters study plays that respond to questions of overriding moral concern: the Holocaust, apartheid, and nuclear weaponry. This title offers a groundbreaking approach to drama criticism.
- Author BiographyROBERT L. KING is professor of English at Elms College in Massachusetts. He is contributing editor in drama criticism for The North American Review. His more than 70 essays on rhetoric and theater have appeared in popular, literary, and scholarly publications from the New York Times to English Literary History.
- Author(s)Robert L. King
- PublisherThe Catholic University of America Press
- Date of Publication15/05/2010
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationWashington
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintThe Catholic University of America Press
- Weight476 g
- Width140 mm
- Height216 mm
- Spine25 mm
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